Culture Crawl showcases international cuisines

Students wait in line for food at Tufts Culinary Society's annual Culture Crawl. Alex Knapp / Tufts Daily

Tufts Culinary Society hosted its third annual Culture Crawl, an event featuring foods from a variety of cultural organizations on campus, on Saturday night in the Sophia Gordon Multipurpose Room.

Thirteen different culture clubs and houses provided dishes to over 400 students, according to Tufts Culinary Society President Gabriel Spieler. Those attending were given six tickets that allowed them to sample dishes from any of the organizations’ tables.

The Culture Crawl was free for students with a Tufts ID, and the Culinary Society paid for the food with funds provided by the Tufts Community Union Senate, according to Spieler, a senior. He acknowledged that in prior years, the food would run out within 20 minutes, but this problem did not arise this year due to reorganization of the event.

“We had good crowd control, and we planned better as far as the location of the food tables compared to last year,” Spieler said.

Hong Kong Students Association Co-President Anne Choong noted that the venue was not as crowded as the year before.

“This year they controlled the door … they only let a certain amount of people in at a time,” Choong, a senior, said.

The line to enter the Culture Crawl was long, but everyone was able to try food if they waited, Spieler said. He explained that the culture clubs want to move the Culture Crawl to a larger venue in the future and hope to receive more funding.

“We really do want to make it more accessible to everyone,” Spieler said. “We shouldn’t have to give out tickets. People should be able to just come and eat.”

Lai Hau Choi, a former president of the Tufts Culinary Society, started the event three years ago in an effort to bring students together, according to Spieler.

“[The Culinary Society] wanted an event that would bring groups together and be collaborative but that would also appeal to a large number of people,” Spieler said. “We thought the best way to provide all this food would be to come together, and it’s also more fun that way.”

Spieler acknowledged that Choi had initially wanted the Culture Crawl to be a more upscale event in its first year.

“We were focused on decorations and nice plates … and then we realized we had no money left for food,” he said.

The event was very popular in its first year, so the focus changed from being a small, fancy event to a large exposition with a lot of food, Spieler noted. He added that the Culinary Society is hoping to receive more funding next year so the groups can afford to bring dishes that may include more meat or fresh vegetables, which are more expensive.

Ashley Siegel, a resident of the German Language House, said she enjoyed the collaborative nature of the event.

“We all got to cook together, speak in German and learn about each other, and it was a bonding experience,” she said.

Siegel, a senior, said they cooked all of the food themselves, and they made traditional and inexpensive German dishes in order to serve as many people as possible.

Other organizations ordered their food from local restaurants, such as the Persian Association at Tufts, which ordered its dish from a restaurant in Watertown, according to Cameron Uslander, a senior.

Choong said she and other members of cultural organizations enjoyed trying each other’s dishes.

First-year Rati Srinivasan agreed, emphasizing the variety of cuisines available.

“It was amazing to try all the different foods and see the different cultural clubs,” Srinivasan said. “All the food was so good.”